Port Macquarie

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
  (Redirected from Port Macquarie, New South Wales)
Jump to: navigation, search
Port Macquarie
New South Wales
Port Macquarie.jpg
Port Macquarie CBD in June 2007
Port Macquarie is located in New South Wales
Port Macquarie
Port Macquarie
Location in New South Wales
Coordinates 31°26′S 152°54′E / 31.433°S 152.900°E / -31.433; 152.900Coordinates: 31°26′S 152°54′E / 31.433°S 152.900°E / -31.433; 152.900
Population 41,491 (2011 census)[1]
Postcode(s) 2444
Elevation 5 m (16 ft)
LGA(s) Port Macquarie-Hastings Council
County Macquarie
Parish Macquarie
State electorate(s) Port Macquarie
Federal Division(s) Lyne
Mean max temp Mean min temp Annual rainfall
23.6 °C
74 °F
12.7 °C
55 °F
1,436.2 mm
56.5 in

Port Macquarie is a town[2] in the local government area of Port Macquarie-Hastings. It is located on the Mid North Coast of New South Wales, Australia, about 390 km (242 mi) north of Sydney, and 570 km (354 mi) south of Brisbane. The town is located on the coast, at the mouth of the Hastings River, and at the eastern end of the Oxley Highway (B56). The town with its suburbs had a population of 41,491 in 2011, while the population of the local government area was 72,696.[3]


The site of Port Macquarie was first visited by Europeans in 1818 when John Oxley reached the Pacific Ocean from the interior, after his journey to explore inland New South Wales. He named the location after the Governor of New South Wales, Lachlan Macquarie.

Oxley noted that 'the port abounds with fish, the sharks were larger and more numerous than I have ever before observed. The forest hills and rising grounds abounded with large kangaroos and the marshes afford shelter and support to innumerable wild fowl. Independent of the Hastings River, the area is generally well watered, there is a fine spring at the very entrance to the Port'.

In 1821, Port Macquarie was founded as a penal settlement, replacing Newcastle as the destination for convicts who had committed secondary crimes in New South Wales. Newcastle, which had fulfilled this role for the previous two decades, had lost the features required for a place for dumping irredeemable criminals, that being isolation, which was lost as the Hunter Region was opened up to farmers, and large amounts of hard labour, which had diminished as the cedar in the area ran out and the settlement grew in size. Port Macquarie, however, with its thick bush, tough terrain and local aborigines that were keen to return escaping prisoners in return for tobacco and blankets, provided large amounts of both isolation and hard labour to keep the criminals in control. Under its first commandant, Francis Allman, who was fond of flogging, the settlement became a hell, where the convicts had limited liberties, especially in regard to being in possession of letters and writing papers, which could get a convict up to 100 lashes.

Because of the lack of liberties of the settlement, Governor Ralph Darling quickly sent there many 'specials' or literate convicts with a decent education who had voiced negative views about him. Later on in the settlement's history, in the 1830s, disabled convicts started to arrive. One-armed men would be grouped together and required to break stones, men with wooden legs would become delivery men, and the blind would often be given tasks during the night which they performed more skilfully than those with sight.[4]

St Thomas' Anglican Church
St Thomas' Church, painted by Joseph Backler in the 1830s

In 1823 the first sugar cane to be cultivated in Australia was planted there. The region was first opened to settlers in 1830 and later on in the decade the penal settlement was closed in favour of a new penal settlement at Moreton Bay. Settlers quickly took advantage of the area's good pastoral land, timber resources and fisheries.

St Thomas's Anglican Church is a Georgian building designed by Lieutenant T. Owen and built by convicts under military supervision during 1824-1828. This church is among the oldest in Australia and one of the few remaining convict-built churches. Inside there are red cedar box pews that were peculiar to that period in church architecture.[5] The Walker pipe organ is the only one of its type in the southern hemisphere. The castellated tower permits excellent views of the coastline, town and river. This church is now classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW) and has been registered on the National Estate heritage list.

Tacking Point Lighthouse

In 1830 Major Archibald Clunes Innes built Lake Innes House which grew over the next decade into a luxurious establishment and attracted many notable visitors. It is now a ruin and is managed by the NSW Parks and Wildlife Service.

In 1840 the "Wool Road" from the Northern Tablelands was under construction to enable wool and other produce to be shipped from the port. Port Macquarie was declared a municipality in 1887, but the town never progressed as a port owing to a notorious coastal bar across the mouth of the river.

Over 20 shipwrecks occurred in the Tacking Point area before a lighthouse was designed by James Barnet and erected there in 1879 by Shepard and Mortley. Tacking Point Lighthouse is classified by the National Trust of Australia (NSW).


In the 2006 Census the wider area of the Hastings Valley had a total population of 68,429 up 9.5% from the 2001 Census. Port Macquarie is now the fastest growing place in New South Wales. The town is expected to grow from an estimated 43,655 people in 2009 to 58,888 in 2027.[6]


Port Macquarie is a retirement destination, known for its extensive beaches and waterways. The town is also known for its koala population, being the home to the Billabong Koala Park, and the Koala Preservation Society's Koala Hospital, caring for koalas injured through bushfire, dog attacks and collisions with vehicles.[7]

In recent times, real estate developments have led to debates with residents, in particular the Rydges Hotel (formerly Four Points by Sheraton) built opposite the Town Green[citation needed]. The Post Office on the Town Green was demolished to make way for a new apartment block, a development that saw the controversial removal of several large fig trees and subsequent debate in the community about the value of public space.[citation needed]

The residential suburbs stretch to Lighthouse Beach in the south, Thrumster to the west and to North Shore, on the northern bank of the river.In July 2010, Sovereign Hills began development in the west.

Port Macquarie was found to be the least affordable smaller city in Australia by Demographia's 2013 International Housing Affordability Survey.[8]

Suburbs and localities[edit]


Port Macquarie's central business district contains two shopping centres, a marina, the beginnings of a coastal walk, and many specialty stores. A centrally located arts, conference and entertainment centre includes a visitor-information facility. Bus services link the CBD, with Laurieton, Wauchope, Kempsey, Lake Cathie and Bonny Hills.

Transit Hill[edit]

Transit Hill to the south is crowned by telecommunication towers. The district is the site of two arterial roads which provide a direct link between Lighthouse Beach and Port Macquarie CBD. The main intersection of Pacific and Kennedy Drive is situated midway up Transit Hill.

It is an area of high-priced real estate owing to ocean and city views. Transit Hill borders Lighthouse Beach, Dahlsford, Shelly Beach and Waniora.


Beaches (in order from north to south) are: North Shore, Town Beach, Oxley Beach, Rocky Beach, Flynns Beach, Nobbys Beach, Shelly Beach, Miners Beach and Lighthouse Beach. Only Town, Flynns and Lighthouse Beaches are manned by Surf Life Saving Clubs. Lighthouse Beach is patrolled at only the northern end. Dogs can be walked off-leash at Lighthouse Beach, excluding sections at the northern end.


Port Macquarie has a humid subtropical climate, and is widely regarded as one of the most liveable towns in Australia.[citation needed]

Climate data for Port Macquarie (Port Macquarie Airport AWS, 1995–2013)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 40.2
Average high °C (°F) 27.6
Average low °C (°F) 18.3
Record low °C (°F) 9.5
Rainfall mm (inches) 149.1
Avg. precipitation days 11.9 13.6 15.1 13.7 13.2 11.2 10.8 8.7 9.2 10.5 14.4 12.7 145.0
Average humidity (%) 65 66 65 64 61 60 55 52 56 59 65 64 61
Source: Bureau of Meteorology[9]
Nobby Head, Port Macquarie

Educational facilities[edit]

Preschools/Child Care

  • Bangalay Child Care Centre Port Macquarie
  • Blooming Kids Eary Learning and Long Day Care Centre
  • Columba Cottage Early Learning Centre
  • Fernhill Road Preschool and Long Day Care Centre
  • Goodstart Early Learning Port Macquarie
  • Hastings Preschool and Long Day Care Centre
  • Lighthouse Child Care Centre
  • Moruya Drive Child Care Centre
  • Port Macquarie Community Preschool
  • Portside Preschool and Long Day Care Centre
  • St.Joseph's Family Services
  • St.Joseph's Preschool and Long Day Care Centre

Primary schools[edit]

Public schools[edit]

  • Port Macquarie Public School[10]
  • Hastings Public School[11]
  • Tacking Point Public School[12]
  • Westport Public School[13]

Catholic schools[edit]

  • St. Joseph's Primary School[14]
  • St. Peter's Primary School[15]
  • St. Agnes' Primary School[16]

Other private schools[edit]

  • Port Macquarie Adventist School[17]
  • Heritage Christian School (Kindergarten to Year 12)[18]
  • St Columba Anglican School (Kindergarten to Year 12)[19]

High schools[edit]

Public schools[edit]

  • Port Macquarie High School[20]
  • Westport High School[21]

Catholic schools[edit]

  • St. Joseph's Regional College[22]
  • St. Paul's High School[23]
  • Mackillop Senior College (Year 11 & 12)[24]
  • Newman Senior Technical College (Year 11 & 12)[25]

Private schools[edit]

  • Heritage Christian School (Kindergarten to Year 12)[18]
  • Newman Senior Technical College (Year 11 & 12)[25]
  • St Columba Anglican School (Kindergarten to Year 12)[19]

Tertiary educational facilities[edit]

There is also a TAFE campus for further qualifications. Courses are also offered by the University of Newcastle through the TAFE campus. In 2012, Charles Sturt University set up a campus with a small number of programs available in accounting and business studies, health sciences, policing, psychology and social work. This was in response to significant research designed to retain young people in the area and contribute to the growth of the educational standards for the Hastings region.

Transport links[edit]

Port Macquarie is linked by daily air services to Sydney and Brisbane.

Port Macquarie is linked by a 6 Day Shuttle Service called Holiday Coast Connections. The area it services comprises Port Macquarie, Lake Cathie, Bonny Hills, Laureiton, Kew, Taree, Forster, Bulahdelah, Newcastle Airport, Newcastle Railway, John Hunter Hospital, Mater Hospital and Newcastle Uni.

Road access is via the Pacific and Oxley Highways. The Pacific Highway lies between Port Macquarie and Wauchope, and is the main road for tourists travelling from coastal areas. Improvements to the Oxley and Pacific Highway has seen steady improvements in travel times between Sydney and the mid-north coast region from 6 hours to just 4 hours (from Wahroonga to the Oxley Highway interchange);

Four proposed or in-construction road projects are underway:

  • Karuah to Bulahdelah section 2 and 3 – Under construction[26] (Karuah to Bulahdelah section 1 – Completed December 2006).[27]
  • Bulahdelah Bypass – Early works commenced in November 2007.[28][29][30][31] The Bulahdelah bypass/upgrade will fill the only missing link between Hexham and Port Macquarie once the Karuah to Bulahdelah section(s) 2 and 3 and the Coopernook to Herons Creek upgrades are open in 2010.[32]
  • Coopernook to Herons Creek – Under construction.[33][34]
  • The Oxley Highway upgrade, from a 2 lane undivided road to a 4-lane divided carriageway, from Wrights Road to the Pacific Highway, Completed.[35]

These four projects are all from the AusLink funding on a 50/50 "joint basis" from the Commonwealth and the state of NSW (50% from Commonwealth Government and the other 50% from the NSW Government.[36]

There is no railway station in Port Macquarie city proper. However, the Port Macquarie CBD and northern suburbs are served by the nearby Wauchope Railway Station, and the southern suburbs including satellite towns of Lake Cathie and Laurieten are served by Kendall Railway Station. Both stations are on the North Coast Line operated by NSW Trainlink with 3 services daily each direction with travel time to Sydney of approx. 6 hours. There is a railway-operated connecting bus service available from Wauchope Railway Station to the Port Macquarie CBD.

Port Macquarie Airport has regular flights to Sydney with QantasLink (5 times daily) and Virgin Australia (twice daily), and also to Lord Howe Island with QantasLink and Brisbane with Virgin Australia.

Annual events[edit]

Notable events held in the Port Macquarie area include:[37]


  1. ^ Australian Bureau of Statistics (31 October 2012). "Port Macquarie (State Suburb)". 2011 Census QuickStats. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  2. ^ "Port Macquarie". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 8 October 2013. 
  3. ^ "Port Macquarie-Hastings LGA". 2011 Census. Australian Bureau of Statistics. Retrieved 2 October 2012. 
  4. ^ Hughes, Robert, The Fatal Shore, London, Pan, 1988. (ISBN 0-330-29892-5)
  5. ^ Donald, J. Kay: Exploring the North Coast and New England, Kangaroo Press, Kenthurst, 1978, ISBN 0-86417-121-8
  6. ^ "We're the State's Boom Town". Portnews.com.au. 2009-07-03. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  7. ^ "Welcome to the Koala Hospital". Koala Hospita. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  8. ^ "Australia". International Housing Affordability Survey: 2013. Demographia. Retrieved 22 January 2013. 
  9. ^ "Port Macquarie Airport AWS". Climate statistics for Australian locations. Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 4 August 2013. 
  10. ^ "Port Macquarie Public School | Home". Portmac-p.schools.nsw.edu.au. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  11. ^ "Hastings Public School | Home". Hastings-p.schools.nsw.edu.au. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  12. ^ "Tacking Point Public School, Home Page". Tackingpt-p.schools.nsw.edu.au. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  13. ^ "Westport Public School". westport-p.schools.nsw.edu.au. Retrieved 21 November 2010. 
  14. ^ "St Joseph's Primary School, Port Macquarie – Home". Pmacjlism.catholic.edu.au. 2008-01-20. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  15. ^ "St Peter's Primary School, Port Macquarie – Home". Pmacplism.catholic.edu.au. 2008-01-20. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  16. ^ "St Agnes' Primary School, Port Macquarie – Home". Pmacalism.catholic.edu.au. 2008-01-20. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  17. ^ "Port Macquarie Adventist School – Home". Portmacquarie.adventist.edu.au. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  18. ^ a b "Welcome to Heritage Christian School". Heritage.nsw.edu.au. 2010-03-03. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  19. ^ a b "Welcome to St Columba Anglican School". scas.nsw.edu.au. 
  20. ^ "Port Macquarie High School". Portmac-h.schools.nsw.edu.au. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  21. ^ "home". Westport-h.schools.nsw.edu.au. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  22. ^ "?". http://www.pmreglism.catholic.edu.au/. 
  23. ^ "St. Pauls Campus". Intranet.pmstp.lism.catholic.edu.au. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  24. ^ "Mackillop Senior Campus". Intranet.pmmac.lism.catholic.edu.au. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  25. ^ a b "Newman Senior Technical College". Newman.nsw.edu.au. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  26. ^ "Karuah to Bulahdelah sections 2 and 3". K2b.abigroup.com.au. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  27. ^ "?". bh.com.au. [dead link]
  28. ^ "$123 million Bulahdelah highway bypass approved". taree.yourguide.com.au. [dead link]
  29. ^ "Bulahdelah upgrade". rta.nsw.gov.au. 2010-05-04. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  30. ^ "?". tarre.yourguide.com.au. [dead link]
  31. ^ "Project Details". auslink.gov.au. Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  32. ^ "Bulahdelah Bypass Funding Approved". New South Wales Department of Local Government, Territories and Roads. 2007-06-21. 
  33. ^ "Coopernook to Herons Creek website". 
  34. ^ "Moorland truck stop's uncertain future". taree.yourguide.com.au. [dead link]
  35. ^ "RTA; Oxley Highway Upgrade – Wrights Road to the Pacific Highway Port Macquarie". Retrieved 2010-09-08. 
  36. ^ "AusLink budget 2007/08 – Pressing ahead with the pacific and hume highways". ministers.dotars.gov.au. [dead link]
  37. ^ "Port Macquarie Area". Destination NSW. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 
  38. ^ "Introducing Fotsun 2013". Festival of the Sun. Retrieved 7 May 2013. 

External links[edit]